Cover image for Battlefields. The Night Witches
Title:
Battlefields. The Night Witches
ISBN:
9781682473900
Physical Description:
231 pages, 18 unnumbered pages : chiefly illustrations (chiefly color) ; 26 cm.
Contents:
The Night Witches -- Motherland -- The fall and rise of Anna Kharkova -- Afterword / by Garth Ennis -- Russ Braun sketchbook.
Summary:
As the German Army smashes deep into Soviet Russia and the defenders of the Motherland retreat in disarray, a new squadron arrives at a Russian forward airbase. Like all night bomber units, they will risk fiery death flying obsolete biplanes against the invader--but unlike the rest, these pilots and navigators are women. In the lethal skies above the Eastern front, they will become a legend--known to friend and foe alike as the Night Witches. With casualties mounting and the conflict devouring more and more of her comrades, Lieutenant Anna Kharkova quickly grows from a naive teenager to a hardened combat veteran. The Nazi foe is bad enough, but the terrifying power of her country's secret police makes death in battle almost preferable. Badly wounded and exiled from her own people, Anna begins an odyssey that will take her from the killing fields of World War II to the horrific Soviet punishment camps--and at the top of the world, high above the freezing Arctic Ocean, the Night Witch finds she has one last card to play. --
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Summary

Summary

As the German Army smashes deep into the Soviet Union and the defenders of the Motherland retreat in disarray, a new squadron arrives at a Russian forward airbase. Like all night bomber units, they will risk fiery death flying obsolete biplanes against the invader--but unlike the rest, these pilots and navigators are women. In the lethal skies above the Eastern Front, they will become a legend--known to friend and foe alike as the Night Witches.



With casualties mounting and the conflict devouring more and more of her comrades, Lieutenant Anna Kharkova quickly grows from a naive teenager to a hardened combat veteran. The Nazi foe is bad enough, but the terrifying power of her country's secret police makes death in battle almost preferable. Badly wounded and exiled from her own people, Anna begins an odyssey that will take her from the killing fields of World War II to the horrific Soviet punishment camps--and at the top of the world, high above the freezing Arctic Ocean, this Night Witch finds she has one last card to play.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Those who know Ennis (Preacher) as a creator of offthewall, blackhumored, and hilariously obscene twists on the usual superhero or SF tropes may be surprised to see his more serious side on display in these three tales of WWII, based upon true events, in which Soviet airfighter Anna Borisnova Kharkova faces off against German enemies, strict military decorum, macho chauvinism, and petty vindictiveness. The character is fictional but based upon the history of the Night Witches, the female Soviet flyers. The artwork by Braun (Fables) eschews superman proportions for a characteristic look of realism that adeptly distinguishes different characters. He provides a sweeping sense of action across panels to evoke the dynamism of battle. Readers may be unsettled by the considerable graphic violence, blood, and literal guts, but Anna's saga and eventual triumph of spirit are rewarding. This is equal parts a sharp and enthralling history lesson and a powerful and touching graphic novel. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Based on a real Soviet WWII-era, all-women flight regiment, this cinematic, decade-spanning graphic novel follows one pilot as she faces down snickering from her commanding officers, battles Nazis in the air, mourns lost friends and comrades, and suffers through Stalin's draconian policies around captured Soviet soldiers. Ennis has clearly researched the history, including technical language about planes, troop movements, and so on, but lest this become a dry piece of military history, he focuses the story tightly on Anna, whose growth, setbacks, and triumphs drive the story forward through three distinct chapters, in which she struggles to balance her own fierce independence with stalwart loyalty to her comrades and country. That character growth expands to secondary figures as well; instead of a typical good-versus-evil story, Ennis offers a narrative invested in individuals making the most of dire situations in wartime. The suspenseful fight scenes focus tightly on the planes, and the realistic art style might please history buffs looking for some semblance of accuracy. An afterword helpfully sifts fiction from the already thrilling facts about Soviet women pilots.--Sarah Hunter Copyright 2019 Booklist